Pinson, one of Alabama's oldest communities, was settled by General Andrew Jackson's soldiers in the early 1800s, after victory at Horseshoe Bend during the War of 1812. The community was originally known as Hagood's Crossroads for settler Zachariah Hagood and his family. It was renamed Mount Pinson, presumably after Pinson, Tennessee, and later called Pinson. Pinson's first post office was established in 1837. Andrew Jackson Beard, a black American who became a renowned inventor and the first millionaire of Jefferson County, was born near Pinson in 1849. Pinson is home to one of Alabama's oldest caves, dating back to the Hamilton Period (circa 900); three endangered species of fish, including the Watercress Darter, Rush Darter, and the Vermilion Darter, which is only found in Pinson's Turkey Creek; and four historical cemeteries pre-dating the Civil War: Red Hill, Cole-Johnson, Marvin's Chapel and Baird-Tatum. Several Civil War veterans are interred in these cemeteries. In 1861, residents from the community volunteered for the Jefferson Warriors and fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War.
Turkey Creek Nature Preserve includes the home site and mill of David Hanby, one of Alabama's early industrialists and a pioneer in the development of Alabama's coal industry. Known as the Mount Pinson Ironworks, a small forge and foundry were built in 1863 that supplied horseshoes for Confederate troops during the Civil War. In the 1880s, Alabama By-Products opened Bradford Mines north of Mount Pinson.
During the Great Depression, the Federal Government created the Palmerdale Homesteads, north of Pinson, as part of the Farm Resettlement Act. On March 30, 2004, residents of Pinson, Palmerdale, and several surrounding communities joined together and voted to become the City of Pinson. The first mayor was Hoyt Sanders. The first council members were Dawn Tanner, Joe Cochran, Shane Shelnutt, John Churchwell Jr., and Barbara Clifton. Descendants of Pinson's founding families continue to reside in Pinson and play a major role in the development of Jefferson County.